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HHS Launches First Five QHINs Kicking Off TEFCA’s Health Data-Sharing Initiative

On December 12, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) named the first five organizations that joined the nationwide data-sharing initiative. The first five Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs)™ are Epic Nexus, eHealth Exchange, Health Gorilla, KONZA, and MedAllies. This is a major milestone in a process that started with the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016.

Learn more about QHINs™.


DOL Responds to Occupational Code Application

The Department of Labor (DOL) responded to AMIA’s Occupational Code Assignment application regarding a “Clinical Informatics” code. As anticipated, the DOL assigned “Clinical Informatics” to the existing O*NET code O*NET Code and Title “15-1211.01 – Health Informatics Specialists.” This is a major milestone in this long project for the nation’s recognition of the “Clinical Informatics” occupation. The AMIA policy team shared this reply directly with the 42 application-supporting organizations.

The DOL did note in their reply that the assigned code is in the process of being updated and the update is anticipated to be complete in August 2024. AMIA has several next steps planned in this project, including replying to the DOL about their assignment and updating the Health Informatics Specialist code.

Read more on the Occupational Code project.

HHS is First in Regulating AI Tools in Health Care in Release of HTI-1 Final Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requiring more transparency about artificial intelligence (AI) used in clinical settings to help providers understand potential risks of the tools. The rule will require software developers to provide more data to customers and disclose information on how the software works and was developed, including who funded the tool. Additionally, the rule lays out new data standards for interoperability, changes exceptions to the rule barring providers from refusing to share data, and establishes interoperability reporting requirements.

The rule will not apply to AI tools health systems have crafted on their own and common practices.

The sweeping regulations from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will apply to clinicians using HHS-certified decision support software by the end of 2024. That health IT certification is technically voluntary but is required when the technology is used in many government and private healthcare settings. Certified software is used in 96 percent of hospitals and 78 percent of doctors' offices nationwide, according to the agency.

NIH RFI – Consent Language for Research Using Digital Health Technologies

AMIA submitted very short comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) form requesting information regarding the useability of sample language for use in informed consent documents for digital health technologies utilized in research. NIH was seeking input on the specific language proposed in the informed consent sample language, as well as identification of any gaps or additions that should be included. Additionally, NIH was looking for any potential hurdles or barriers to the voluntary use by the community, and other feedback relevant to this resource. NIH did express this resource is completely voluntary.

Read AMIA's comments.

ONC Annual Meeting

The Office of the National Coordinator or Health IT (ONC) will be hosting their 2023 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, December 14-15. The meeting will celebrate TEFCA’s first Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs)™ and host breakout sessions on HTI-1, cutting-edge health IT tools, modernization of public health data, documentation burden, and other high-profile issues. Several sessions will allow attendees to join online.

See more information on the 2023 ONC Annual Meeting.

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Deadline: Apply for the FAS Extreme Heat Policy Challenge Today

Members of AMIA’s Discussion Forum on Climate, Health, and Informatics invite other AMIA members to apply to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and focus on using technology to monitor and address heat stress. The Extreme Heat Policy Sprint's is meant to develop high-impact policy recommendations and memos to comprehensively address the extreme heat crisis. FAS will work with the cohort of experts to synthesize these recommendations and deliver them to the Interagency Working Group on Extreme Heat and targeted agencies to drive policy uptake.

The goal of the Extreme Heat Policy Sprint is to surface innovative, actionable policy proposals to build federal capacity to address extreme heat.

Selected participants will have the opportunity to develop their ideas with guidance from an FAS team of advisors, meet with veteran policymakers and experts in the field to think strategically about policy implementation, join a community of thinkers working on similar issues, and present their recommendations to federal policy leaders.

Apply by today, December 18. If you have any questions, please contact FAS Program Manager Grace Wickerson.

Disincentives for Health Care Providers Committing Information Blocking

Health and Humans Services (HHS), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released a proposed rule that is the first steps for holding healthcare providers accountable for information blocking. The proposed rule would apply to certain healthcare providers that have been found to have committed information blocking by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG). The public comment deadline for the proposed rule is January 2, 2024.

Around the Web

AMIA’s Washington Download is your source for health informatics policy news and information from around the Beltway, covering action from the Hill, the Administration, and important AMIA collaborators.